Lime Squash

We thought that auctioning live chickens in church was pretty special, as mentioned last week, however, this week the chickens were topped by the auctioning of a goat! Poor Noah was quite disturbed by the whole ordeal as the goat made such a ‘rukus’ and practically strangled himself on his rope…The story ends well though when, later that day, Matt saw the new goat owner & was told that the goat had been put in a paddock to eat up all the weeds & long grass. (we didn’t mention to Noah what he may be being fattened up for!)

Our relationship with Delphiana & her family continues to grow. We go up to her place regularly to learn more ‘Bahasa Delha’ & just generally more about their life and culture. Noah & Grace especially love going & playing with her little girl ‘Ratna’ & drinking coffee!! (very sweet & very weak of course)

Maths-lesson-300x224On Monday we travelled into Ba’a to meet up with Benny, Defi & all the Mercy Home kids. They had a week of school holidays and were very keen to show us the water hole they often swim & wash in. To be honest, we weren’t expecting much but we were all absolutely blown away by how beautiful it was there! (other than the fish that bite your sores… ouch!) After some of the boys helped Matt catch some small fish for our ‘Mandi’ (bathroom-you put them in to stop mosquitos from breeding) Molly & Grace boarded the bus with all the kids to go and spend a couple of nights at the home with them. Crazy hey! I don’t even let them have sleep overs at home! I was actually so suprised that they wanted to go… They had loads of fun & it was such an experience for them. They said that they got to stay up really late & then couldn’t believe the 4:30am wake up call for devotions and chores… including sweeping, mopping and collecting wood for the fire to cook breakfast. They didn’t quite last the second night & Matt had to tough it out in the dark on that hellish road bringing them back on the mororbike! (I was secretly happy to have them back home)

Jayden has been getting right into some spear fishing since he saw some massive grouper the first day he went out & wasn’t sure if he should shoot!! He has been looking for them ever since!!

I had a few days of learning to surf at a place called ‘Squeelers’.  I did lots of squeeling but had heaps of fun until the surf & wind picked up on the third day & I got SMASHED… once, twice, three times and so on until I yelled out “I’m getting out of here and paddled out of there as quickly as I could. Lost some confidence but I WILL definately be back! (when it’s smaller!)

Speaking of confidence, Matt lost some in being doubled by me on the motorbike after a small incident with a bag of limes and a big BUMP… the bag didn’t hold and we had 25 limes rolling all over the road in different directions. After finally remembering how to stop the thing, Matt was dodging other bikes and traffic (not that there is much) as he ran around and re couped our loss!! Well, you can’t have Papaya without lime can you… Or Cumi Cumi (squid).

Our staple diet this week has been pumpkin,pumpkin & more pumkin after being given way too many for us to possibly eat. We spent a great deal of time attempting to explain that it was too much for us to eat and after asking if there were other people they could give some of the pumkins to the simple answer was “no!” The concept of ‘gratis’ seems to mean that you take what is being given even if it is impossible for you and your family to get through! We did manage to give some away to our friends Dave & Jenet who have a restaurant so you will be happy to know that there was no wastage.

More-pumpkin-300x224Bye for now, stay tuned for what’s on auction next Sunday… It could be anything!

Nat, Matt, the kids, Sal & Paul x

Part of the Family

Never a dull moment here in Rote… Our week started in church on Sunday with the usual auction at the end of the service. Up until this point we have seen pumpkins, rice, mung beans, papayas and the like being bidded for but this week, after the usual fruit and veg being bought up, we discovered what the disruptions during the service had been due to… live chickens! Anyone bought a live chicken in church before? We were tempted, as it has been a reeaally long time since we’ve had a treat like that, but the thought of killing it, plucking and cleaning it was just a bit too much for me at this point. I guess I’m not hungry enough yet… Close though!

Chook-raffle-224x300

Things are slowly getting easier here on the land, we now have a table in our little ‘multi purpose area’ with our kerosene stove and even a light which has changed our world!! We have a small generator up and running which means that we are not racing the sun to get dinner prepared before dark each night and we can also charge our phones and laptops… Life changing to say the least! Sally was moved to tears this week when Paul managed to find a blender for her at the weekly Tuesday markets which means smoothies for breakfast!! Pure luxury…

Our Bahasa Indonesia is definately improving as, mostly, there is no other way to communicate. We have met a beautiful lady that has already started to become part of the family… She had been bringing us gifts of papaya and sweet potato and then invited us up to her garden which was amazing! On the way back we stopped in at her ‘Mama’s’ house where all the ladies were preparing the evening meal together..Seriously, us westerners have SO much we can learn from a people and culture that value community and family like they do!

Working-together-300x224The next day Sally & I went back up for our first Bahasa Delha lesson, which is the local dialect spoken here. We had a ratio of 22 teachers to 2 sudents in a small dark concrete floor room… Talk about cultural immersion! Noah had a blast, drinking VERY sweet black coffee (even the children drink it here) and fried balls of dough which tasted very much like a donut. He was happy! There are at least 13 different dialects just on this small island of Rote and Bahasa Delha is what is spoken here and in the surrounding villages within about 15 km’s. Travel to Ba’a, the main town, and the language is different again. The locals,especially the elderly, get such a kick when we speak to them in their own dialect. We are absolutely loving it! Since then, if Delphiana is not down here with us we are up there with her and her family learning the language. Our communication link is actually Indonesion which forces us to be learning and speaking it constantly. One day Delphiana asked if we liked ‘Babi’ (Pig) and of course, we all said yes, next thing she brought down a very scary looking jaw bone (we thought we were going to end up eating teeth) which she proceeded to cut and fry up for us. Well, it tasted just like bacon, suprise suprise… We all enjoyed it (some more than others) fur and all!! So, scrambled eggs with hairy pig for breakfast the next morning. Yum!!

With the help of Delphiana and her family (actually more like we helped them) we now also have a MASSIVE garden including 2 banana trees, 13 Papaya seedlings and 10 chilli plants, all contained inside a 5ft high rock wall (to keep the goats out!) We brought with us tomato, beans, snow peas, basil, cucumber and some other seeds which we can’t wait to plant in there as well.

Garden-300x224We are all healthy and well other than some scratches and things that are taking extra long to heal and a close call with our drinking water this week. We usually just use the well water for washing and, after purifying in the sun for 8 hours, for cooking & washing up. (we buy our drinking water in 5 gallon bottles) There was some confusion this week as, after noticing things floating around in our 5 gallon drinking water drum, I went to the well to fill our other drum to leave in the sun to purify and it wasn’t there!! It took a little while for it to ‘click’ that somehow the we had been using the well water to drink from! Yes, well our homeopathics are coming in handy anyaway!!

For kicks this week we watched a live gecko fight on our new kitchen roof. Quite distubing when you are serving up dinner right below it!! The smaller gecko was no match and ended up as mince meat…. Also had my first attempt at riding a motor bike in the paddock next door, apparently you don’t need your feet to propel yourself (the bike does have an engine) Matt said I looked like a ‘Flinstone’!! (I have got better since!) More on our adventures next week. Nat, Matt, Jayden, Molly, Grace, Noah, Sal & Paul.

Goats in a storm!

Have you ever had a goat in bed with you? We came close this week!! After being woken up in the middle of the night by a huge storm right over the top of us and thunder that shook the land beneath us (easy to feel when you’re sleeping on the ground!)  we had a goat run right into our front verandah, (our bedroom) screaming in fear as if to say “I’m so scared, is my Mummy here?” Of course, she was not & there was no hesitation in sending it promptly back outside into the storm! Sorry to all you animal lovers…

The next day we had news that our friend Jenet had lost her Mum. She quite suddenly became ill and died 2 days later in Ba’a hospital. The funeral was the following day ,they can’t wait around long here in the tropics, & it was just amazing to see how quickly the family came from all over Indonesia. Family is everything here… We were honoured to be asked to come and be part of the ceremony, so on the day before Good Friday we all ‘donned’ our Sunday best, well actually Matt wore a skirt… (a sarong as he had no long pants) & went to Dave & Jenet’s  place for the funeral. Apparently this was the second funeral of the day as there had been one earlier for a 3 month old baby. We were told to get used to it as there are many funerals here! There were hundreds of people there with plastic chairs borrowed from all over the community lined  up all the way to outside and even across the road. We got to meet many of Jenet’s family and did our part in helping to “eat a cow” which was our first & only red meat since we have been here! They did a horse as well which was interesting, to say the least, but I wasn’t sure which was which!

Easter is huge here with a full re-enactment of the crucifiction on Good Friday. The carrying of the cross started at 3pm and ended at sunset with the 3 crosses on the hill overlooking the coast.  On Saturday night many of the locals lit candles all over the place in anticipation for Sunday morning and then at 2am we were awoken by singing that went pretty much until sunrise. Pretty special… but not much sleep! The kids had their first Easter without chocolate this year as well… Amazingly enough they weren’t disappointed when they woke up to find a nut bar and a powdered sachet energy drink beside their beds!!

By far, the highlight of our week (and probably month) was Saturday when Benny & Defi brought all the ‘Mercy Home’ kids down to ‘our place’ to “play!” We had such a great day & the kids had a blast swimming & riding our kids bikes. We cooked up a massive pumpkin & some rice which actually fed all 24 of us! These kids have all come from extreme poverty & some of them are still suffering the consequences of the years prior but Benny & Defi are doing such a magnificent job with their ‘new family’ (The home has not been open a year yet) They now have a small bus to get to school in, beds & 3 meals a day but they are still praying for a well which would make things a whole lot easier for them! Can’t wait to ‘play’ again soon!

The boys conquered something major this week as well…. We now have a kitchen/school/office/training area/dining room (you get the idea!) They managed this amazing feat without a ladder, without power and without the all the right tools!! We have no idea how they managed to do it (other than alot of creativity, climbing and danger) but, as you can imagine, we think they are pretty cool right now!!

Well, I could go on and on about our adventures but I’d rather keep you waiting till next week!! Have a great one.

Nat, Matt, & Kids, Sal & Paul

Beware the coconuts!

We have discovered that coconuts can be very dangerous here in the tropics & the need to avoid them at all costs! (that is unless you are hungry, have a machete in hand and are looking for one on purpose) Our new Kijang, well known now as ‘the bomb’, has been in getting repaired after we ran over a coconut & tore the front wheel off! Fot the first part of this week we had both our ‘mobil`s’ in getting fixed due to run in’s with a rogue coconut. The same day we did the car, the bike ran off the road and ended up with a coconut caught up in the wheel bending the gear lever.. Things were looking up when we bought a beautiful looking GT the next day for lunch. We cooked it up with papaya flowers (supposedly good for warding off malaria) and some nasi putih (white rice) Sounds good hey?… It was terrible!! This beautiful looking white flesh fish had something very wrong with the texture and was all soggy and the papaya flowers tasted like aeroguard!! We did our best to eat what we could and get some well needed nutrition!! After washing lunch down with some water & looking for something to get the horrible taste out of our mouths, Matt, Paul & I jumped on the motorbike to go and talk to our (very good friend by now) Nolis the mechanic & Dave to borrow a jack. After mentioning to Dave about our lunch he kindly informed us that when the flesh of a fish is soggy like the one we had just eaten it means that the fish has worms!! (yeah, awesome!!) After immediately ordering 3 cokes (we figured coca cola kills anything) we did all that we could do with the car, whilst continually looking up for fear of a coconut hitting us in the head! Then headed back with more cokes for Sal and the kids plus some homeopathics, just in case!!

Since then we have had some really cool stuff happen. We had all been feeling very fruit & veg deprived… (actually, everything deprived) as the wet season is just finishing here and it is extremely hard for the local Rotinese to grow anything. Our diet to this point had consisted basically of boiled eggs for breakfast and noodles or rice for lunch and dinner. Just when we were all desperate for some nutrition we met a lovely local lady that seems to have been able to grow just about anything when no one else seems to be able to!! The next day we had Papaya, bananas, limes, pumpkin and, since then, sweet potato, choy sum and even rocket and basil!! Add to this the fact that she really wants to learn English and we really want to learn Indonesian, she is our new best friend… next to Nolis the mechanic of course! Sally & I have an agreed time of 3pm daily to teach English, which has been so much fun, plus she has connected Sally up with the local womens soccer team as well as bringing us along to her church on Sunday. All of this has been such a great way to start to become part of the local community. We are also looking forward to going to going with her to visit her sons school to see if we can be of any help there.

SAM_0434-225x300So, that all said, things are looking on the up and up…. Hopefully no more coconut encounters! Still waiting on the car but we should be mobile again soon.

Nat, Matt & kids plus Paul & Sal. x